Letter to retailers and manufacturers of Hi-Viz
You may have heard about or seen a copy of a letter that was sent out by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) to editors of equestrian publications in the last couple of days. This letter sought to clarify the position regarding the use of horse and rider clothing (in this instance high visibility garments) that closely resembles police uniform.
I understand that several consumer publications will be publishing this letter in the near future so I felt it important that you see the letter beforehand as there is also some discussion on a number of the equestrian forums and I have already received several queries about this from member retailers.
It is important to note that while ACPO feel that wearing clothing manufactured to match the characteristics of police uniform may put the wearer at risk of contravening legislation, this can only be proven when tested in a court of law. To our knowedge this has not yet occurred.
I have this morning sought advice both from Trading Standards and our solicitor who feel, until tested in a court of law, that retailers should look to the Sale of Goods Act for immediate guidance. Garments will have been sold in good faith on your part and it is up to you and the consumer to consider the information before making any decision as to any resulting action. Providing that the garments sold were of satisfactory quality, "as decribed" and fit for purpose then under the Act there is no reason at this time for a retailer to feel obliged to either take the garments back or stop selling them. Some of these garments will have been in use for some time so common sense should be used when dealing with enquiries.
Furthermore you should be aware that the ACPO guidance issued is precisely that, guidance, and it is up to each individual force to use this information as they see fit. In discussing with a member of my own local police force the words "malicious intent" and "common sense" were used as by- words in considering action, if any.
We will be monitoring the situation and will let you know of any further developments. If you would like to discuss please do call me.
Executive Director & Secretary of BETA